This particular writing is quite contrary to what I do post on my page. But I deem it necessary to inform the public and create an awareness which will intend educate others a nd I’m certain that my entire generation will not step here except on ‘ministry basis’, unless they protest by being stubborn. I do not mean to deride anyone neither am I writing out of some personal opinions or thoughts. I can as well prove to a 100% whatever I have stated here.
‘I wish you fortunate’, were the very words the immigration officer said to me after reluctantly opposing my coming to this particular country. Initially, she looked at my 18 years face then at my 21 year old fake age on my passport and told me she would not stamp my papers because I looked much younger than the age I had on the passport. After further enquiries and persuasions, she finally stamped it. But it takes more than being fortunate to survive out here. You need the Divine Grace of God to survive out here.
My travelling in some sense meant a lot to my family and they succeeded in persuading me to travel out of the country. I had to put up some excuse to make my resignation meaningful at the school I was pupil teaching after graduating from the senior high school. I arrived at Kuwait on the 23rd September, 2014 at the man power office where I was taken by one family who had paid for my services as a nanny. My phone was ceased immediately I arrived. Four months later, I left for the office with varied reasons. There I was enlightened about this whole work thing since I understood the local language(Arabic) a bit. I have really been misinformed!
Unknowingly, the people here actually pay for everything in addition to the amount both the local agency and office here will take, then again, pay the worker monthly. Most of them spend over US$2500. How then are they supposed to treat someone they ‘bought’? Like a piece of trash, I suppose and you’ve got no choice than to work your ass off. Left to me alone, no girl will come to any of these countries apart from those who have actually been here from a definite past time. They must have some vital reasons for coming back. Besides, many are making a fortune out of their stay here. Our youthful strength and vitality are needed for far more useful stuffs to build ourselves, hopes, families and countries at large, instead, we come back home feeble, weak and deprived of our strength. The agencies who organise this inhuman companies foot the bills required for the necessary documentation for one’s travelling (they claim). The individual is also required to pay some amount of money before commencing their paper work and the agents who succeed in convincing the girls to travel are paid some peanuts for their rendered services. So I thought to myself, are we not going back into slave trade?
It is so pathetic how one could work for two full good years without a weekend or a single holiday. Did you say it is greed? Well, I will by no means be here if it were greed, that is not my nature! Neither was there a need to travel so badly. If I had a will to travel at all to any choice country, it will certainly not be here! After all isn’t it an experience to travel out of your country, meet new people, learn new things and the lot more? Who does not want to make it in life? Who wouldn’t want to do a simple house chore, be a nanny or a cook and make a living out of it? Apparently, I couldn’t have earned what I had in 6 months here if I were still pupil teaching for a year. Most people are still making it out here. But the decisive question is what about the large percentage of people who are molested, denied shelter, food and clothing, victimized, subjected to other indecent works, sexual abuses, unpaid among others. Those who are privileged to air their plights are immediately taken care of, their pictures are taken as evidence for their fair and well treatments and then they start facing a fresh music altogether whereas the local agencies use the evidences as their baits to lure others into this hell. Others, especially illiterates are compelled to sign new agreements even after their contracts are ended. Some are also denied their tickets back to their countries after the contract due to their refusal to renew them. I do not mean to say it happens here only, it is just in extreme. One lady I spoke to complained bitterly about how she was beaten and locked up for days without food because she was sick and couldn’t work, so appalling!
On the other hand, most of the girls end up fleeing from their contracts by the aid of some Ghanaian guys (or whoever) who are also working here. Instead of going back home or working, they end up in prostitution. Some of the Ghanaian guys help the others to get work and are paid twice or trice as much as they used to be paid while working under companies in the peoples homes, since they fend for their bills themselves. After aiding them in getting a job, they then demand to be paid in kind. “Thinking that I have found someone from my very own country who will assist me, instead, take advantage of me in payment for their kind gesture”: It is so heart breaking to hear this from most girls who have gone through this ordeal.
My experience was no very different. Having been cognisant of the problems brought to the office daily through out my one week stay after I left the former place, I joined the bargaining team as to what I really will do in a particular house. I came down to Saudi Arabia with my new ‘family’ to work as a cook.
Alas, I had just jumped into the fire itself from the fry pan. Luckily, I was not denied my phone and so I got connected to others( known and unknown) who were here, hence, formed a WhatsApp group chart to stay connected as well as share and solve problems amidst members and distant ones. Two months after my arrival, my payment was reduced and no amount of text messages or calls to the office changed anything after they replied once. They suddenly stopped picking my calls and refused to reply my messages. I gave up on that and prayed my contract ended fast. As if that was just the beginning , my cooking chores extended to been a nanny ( caring for my madam’s grandchildren) and house keeping. As if that was not enough, I had to move from house to house putting in order my madam’s daughter’s various homes.
[An extract from my poem: ‘My Story’].
My hands beg me to use them not
My feet beg me to use them not
The stirs moan in pain as a result of my numerous to and fro
The machines stir in my face with anger….
To worse it all, I became the carpenter putting together the poultry tent on the desert either in the burning sun or chilled weather after cleaning it from time to time. I had to pretend to be scared of the sheep to avoid caring for them too. Yet still, I come back home to continue from where I stopped before retiring to bed.
[an extract from my poem-‘In Another Country’]
So complex yet must I endure
Times of sleepless nights and aches all round
Times of tears and wearies yet I endure
Nowhere to go because it was same all round.
It got to a time I became so fed up and informed my dad about the excess work. He went to the local agency to inquire from them. Shamefully, they called me to ask of my boss’ number ( for they were not having it). They called them and thus, my working on the field ended for two months, then started all over again in a grand style. The worse times were during Ramadan and other festive occasions such as parties, wedding, naming ceremonies etcetera. A week does not pass by without receiving visitors, except they’ve travelled. They would rather believe a dummy than you who is speaking the truth, speak to you ruthlessly and will pull the ruff down over the slightest mistake. And when the irritation becomes so intense, I only remind myself of whose I am, heave a sigh and let it go.
I was not left out with various sexual advances. In the beginning, I thought it was some sort of test until I found out from one of the guys why they always made such advances. He told me boldly without dignity that “that was how they treated all those who came to work for them”. I quickly got a knife, threatened one and that ended it notwithstanding the fact that I kept a knife with me at all times ( to scare away the bratty). I still think many could escape this based on the way they present themselves or carry themselves around. Most people come and leave here with some sort of rapacious, noxious and peevish characters due to the effect of what they’ve been through. It is my utmost prayer that, those here will be strengthened to endure through this living and come out sound, safe and not in a morbid state in Jesus name!
I beseech all who are on my side to do everything within their power to inclose and put to an abrupt halt and cessation all those companies bringing girls here to work. Nevertheless, they should be ready to make bye laws (if they have none) and enforce it to protect the interest of these workers here. This wouldn’t only promote growth and stability in various countries but also promote friendly relationship amongst these countries and world at large. Who would want to see and constantly hear of the agonies his or her people are facing in other countries? The government should also put legislations in place to make it impossible to come out here even as they create job avenues especially for SHS graduates who are yet to further their education in order to give them no reason at all to risk coming here (Some stated this as their reason for coming here in a close interview).
I fear not telling my story. For I know through it all I have learned, unlearnt, been moulded and built up by virtue of God’s Grace. And I know nothing else can heal this land from its massive barbarous and ferocious ways except by believing and accepting Jesus Christ….so help us all God!!!